The conference commenced with words from Deputy Minister for Energy Dr. Saleh Al-Awaji; the governor of the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA), Dr. Abdullah Al-Shehri; Saudi Aramco’s director of energy systems engineering Abdulhamid Al-Omair; in the presence of Prince Dr. Bandar Al-Saud, assistant to the minister of interior for technology affairs.
Al-Shehri told Arab News: “The ECRA released regulations on uses of small solar panels in houses and residential facilities, and gave the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) until next June to prepare equipment and meet specific requirements to ensure that the quality of solar panels meets these regulations.
“Currently, the SEC and King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy are working on a program for contractors to pass as qualified installers of roof solar panels,” he added.
Abdullah Al-Bishi, distribution services executive director at the SEC, said: “Once a contractor has installed solar panels at houses, malls and mosques, the SEC’s role is to test the product and ensure it’s of sound quality and merges with the electricity grid. The consumer can then use solar energy along with electricity, and any excess electrical energy can be sold back to the SEC. This will be implemented by July 2018.”
The chairman of the organizing committee of SASG, Bandar Allaf, met with Arab News and expressed great enthusiasm regarding this year’s conference.
“We’ve seen interest from more than 33 countries; there are almost 70 global exhibitors in this hall right now. Yesterday, we received more than 1,500 people who showed interest in the preconference workshops. Besides that, we have a very important session, ‘Women in Power,’ where we’ll listen to international and local experiences, best practices, successful stories for the Saudi engineers engaged in the energy sector. We’ll listen to the difficulties they’ve faced and their recommendations for a better work environment for women in this field.”
To commemorate the focus on the session, Dr. Saleh Al-Awaji spoke about female empowerment in the field: “The female contributors are plentiful and there will be even more opportunities for women in smart grid and renewable energy sectors; we’re fully focused on creating these opportunities at the moment.”
In Saudi Aramco’s booth, participants witnessed the work of a robotic cleaning device to rid solar panels of dust, which had been the main concern for those who are embarking on installing roof solar panels.